Mitch Jayne

 Missouri Author, Humorist, Songwriter, Storyteller

Gold Medal Award for Best Mid-West Regional Fiction -Independent Publishers Association

Home Grown Stories & Home Fried Lies

(published 2000 by Wildstone Media)

Forest in the Wind

(republished 2009 by Wildstone Media)

"... the animals' observations as they travel through time and their changing environment are often more real than those so-callled 'reality' shows. The thin volume shows that fear, doubt, questioning and other feelings or experiences are universal, regardless of species."          

Jack L. Kennedy 

Joplin Independent



The Old Home Place 
image courtesy
Jeannie Eddleman

Mitch & Diana
image courtesy
carole welch

image (C) 2007
diana jayne

Missouri Governor's Award

"He may have a city haircut, but his heart is shaped in a bowl."

--Briscoe Darling

 July 5, 1928 - August 2, 2010


2008 Missouri Governor's Humanities Book Award 

 The first time for a work of literary FICTION to receive this award!

St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books"
"... Jayne's mysterious fiddler is stalwart in challenging narrow-mindedness... carried on the novel's musical tide. Jayne knows something of mountain rhythms as well.... Fiddler's Ghost becomes reflection on the eternal sources of the gift of art, and on the motives of those who would stifle it.
Martin Northway, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Mark Polland review on amazon

... Fiddler's Ghost Wow, amazing and splendiferous (a Mark Twain word) are not large enough descriptions for this riveting tale. Pay very serious attention if you are lucky enough to run into a ghost like this one....

I hadn't read a good ghost story in a long time and when asked to look at it I was expecting a `Keep the lights on at night!' sort of experience. Far, far from scary, my journey was one of love, humor and appreciation of someone who knows how to tell a damn good story. I broke out laughing in some parts.

Mitch Jayne can flat out write! ...a young couple finding their way after WWII learn to accept, learn from and help from a long wandering spirit. Uncle Hiram has a fierce dedication to all music old and new.

If you're a music lover, much less a musician, this is seriously a must read! Imagine a ghost tucking a Guarnerius under his chin even making chiming sounds with it. Made me research `Carol Of The Bells'. You will have a trip through American musical history from the beginning to today.'ll discover a feeling for good old Missoura logic, thinking and country language... gravel for his goose, drink it reverend, squanderin' an opinion, sizes a man's pile like a tax assessor... that is leaving us all too quickly.

My, oh my, the Ozarkean food and drink... sage dressing with baked ham, venison roast wrapped in bacon, pecan and mincemeat pies... will have you packing for Rolla and Branson in a heartbeat.

...once I started it simply refused to allow me to put it down so I missed some sleep.... Do not deny yourself the absolute pleasure of Fiddler's Ghost. It's much, much more than a very splendid read!

From writer Kevin Cook... about Mitch...
As a founding member of The Dillards, one of the most innovative groups in bluegrass, Mitch played bass and regaled audiences with humorous stories of his beloved Ozarks. He wrote lyrics for numerous bluegrass standards... The Old Home Place, Dooley, There Is A Time, and The Whole World Round. The Dillards appeared in six episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as the perennially tongue-tied Darling Boys.
Mitch is the author of acclaimed novels The Forest in the Wind (1966) and the Ozarks-set Old Fish Hawk (1969), which was adapted in the 1979 movie Fish Hawk (with Native American actor Will Sampson in the title role). In 2000, Wildstone Media published Mitch's Home Grown Stories & Home Fried Lies, an autobiographical collection of Ozark humor.
Mitch and his wife, Diana--an accomplished artist who painted the evocative cover image for Fiddler’s Ghost, live in Shannon County Missouri. Mitch's humor column, Driftwood, appears weekly in Missouri newspapers: The Shannon County Current Wave, The Salem News, Farmington Press, and Kaleidoscope Weekly. Mitch also writes a monthly humor column for Today's Farmer magzine and formerly wrote for The Missouri Conservationist magazine. When not writing, Mitch gives humorous talks throughout Missouri about the Ozarks, its irreplaceable and colorful language, and his travels and experiences being a Dillard.

Home Grown Stories & Home Fried Lies...    Jayne describes Ozarkians

"...people who had little commerce with modern speech and liked their own better" and his love affair with Ozark English - surely an oxymoron - is writ large on every page. Ozarkians speak "Mother Tongue" (inherited language), which abounds in quaint, majestic words (countenance, blackguard) that have a distinctly Shakespearian ring to them and homemade sayings so rustic, they'd bewilder Snuffy Smith. Knowing how daunting the dialect is, Jayne has kindly included an Ozark dictionary to help readers decipher sentences like, "Some eats boughten vittles, but I always take a bait of dinner in a poke." Say what??
Andy Griffith
"I want to tell you how very much I enjoyed reading Fiddler's Ghost. Not only your description of everything had me living in the town and in every room of your ghost house, all the characters were splendid. Of course I love Uncle Hiram and even the trolls; I didn't love them, but I think I'll always think of them every time I fill up my car with gasoline."

Michael Patrick, emeritus historian/folklorist, University of Missouri

Fiddler's Ghost ...the rarest of books. I could hardly put it down... full of suspense and plot turns. Only Mitch Jayne could write a novel with a perfect understanding of the music and dialect of the Missouri Ozarks.

Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

Fiddler's Ghost begins like a typical ghost story—a man and his wife move into an old haunted house—but quickly develops into a fascinating exploration of Ozark language and culture through a story about love, open-mindedness, and the power and beauty of music.

Joplin Independent Newspaper

Jayne is a story of his own. In the tradition of famed writers-storytellers Vance Randolph and Mae Kennedy McCord, he keeps alive the spirit of the Ozarks, its roots and its uniqueness.... [Fiddler's Ghost] The setting is beautifully drawn, and Jayne expertly walks a thin literary line between science fiction/fantasy and reality.

Author Lewis A. Lawson

Fiddler's Ghost captivated me . . . I don't hint at a put-down when I say-that the novel would make a great movie.

Missouri Life Magazine

From the all-enveloping humidity to skillfully mastered Ozarkian dialect to plotline filled with humor, music, and magic, Fiddler's Ghost is sure to bring goose bumps to your skin and your heart.